Everything About Sweet Valley University is Amazing

by Kim on Friday, October 18, 2013

I am about to turn 30*. What better time could there be to reflect on the important literature I was reading a decade and a half ago? This is adulting, people. Forget figuring out your 401k: real adult behavior is tracking down as many early Sweet Valley University books as you possibly can, and nearly weeping with joy over their trashy perfection.

I mean, there’s implied sex in these books. Drugs. Sociopaths obsessed with Elizabeth Wakefield. Although I guess you’d be hard pressed to find a Sweet Valley series that DIDN’T have sociopaths obsessed with Elizabeth Wakefield. Maybe the one where they’re seven and in second grade, but I wouldn’t bet my apartment on it.

 In case you don’t remember this amazing series, a few highlights (not in order, ‘cause who can keep all this nonsense straight?**) from the first ten books:

  • Elizabeth gets ‘fat’. Fat just means that she gains, oh, twenty pounds, but the entire campus reacts as though she’s morbidly obese, and of course once she puts her mind to it the pounds magically go away. 
  • Jessica becomes a waitress. Hilarity ensues. 
  • Enid changes her name to Alex and becomes an alcoholic. 
  • Todd and Elizabeth break up. He also becomes an alcoholic. 
  • It’s never clear how all these 18 year olds are getting so much booze so easily. I guess it’s like Dillon Texas, where 15 year old football players are more than welcome at every bar in town. 
  • Elizabeth is nearly murdered. Multiple times. 
  • Jessica gets married. The marriage eventually gets annulled. 
  • Lila gets married to an Italian count. The marriage ends in a fatal jet ski accident.*** 
  • Elizabeth has a crazy Southern roommate who seduces a biology student and gets him to release a ton of fruit flies in Elizabeth and Jessica’s dorm room. By the time this happens, they’re both so immune to the insanity of their lives that they’re like ‘oh, look, fruit flies.’ 
  • Winston gets assigned to a girls dorm and ends up learning a lot about Womanhood And Himself. 
  • Sorority drama. It’s pretty much just the Unicorn Club all over again. 
  • Elizabeth and her new boyfriend are so fucking obsessed with themselves that they make a big damn deal about their one week anniversary, to the point that all their friends end up planning a surprise party for them and they all eat ice cream together. Really.
  • Bruce and Lila are involved in a terrible plane crash. They fall in hate-love. It is awesome. 
  • Stephen Wakefield shoots Jessica’s husband. Or he shoots himself during a dramatic scuffle. Something soapy like that. 
  • Jessica is almost raped. She is saved by Elizabeth and a mysterious stranger. 
  • Aggressive racists. 
  • Lila, wracked with grief over the death of her husband, gives away all of her clothes. And not to me. There’s real tragedy for you. 

I mean, it goes on and on. That’s not nearly all of it. I advise you all to quit your jobs immediately and dedicate your lives to reliving this awesomeness. Totally worth it.

 It kinda makes me wish there’d been a Babysitters Club: The College Years. I bet things would get real wacky over at Stoneybrook University.

* in two days. I feel like this about it.
** I could. 
*** I bet you don’t believe this is real.


I loved the SVU series! I still remember the "total ecstasy" of Jessica's implied loss of virginity and marriage (at 18!) to a cop and thinking "this is kind of weird".

Remember Elizabeth the Puritan not wanting to share a room with Tom in New York, or wherever they went? He went nuts over her gray sweatshirt/leggings outfit and she didn't want to go all the way and he got upset. Oh, the drama.

How do I remember all of this??

by Haley D on 2:38 PM. #

Wait, back up!!! Was Tom going nuts like 'Elizabeth, for god's sakes we're in New York, put a little effort in' or like 'Elizabeth, your sexy grey sweatshirt and leggings combo is giving me manly feelings in my manly feelings region'?

Either one is the funniest thing I've heard all week. Thank you.

by Kim on 2:55 PM. #

Ahh, this is so good. I was Sweet Valley obsessed, but didn't read much of the SVU series for some reason. Now I feel like I might need to take up a new hobby and rectify that. These highlights are all great, but the one week anniversary surprise party is just blowing my mind!

by Michelle on 9:19 AM. #

You don't even mention that time Elizabeth-slash-Jessica is seduced by a vampire!

by HelenB on 7:50 AM. #

Oh he definitely thought she was ready for sexy times with her freshly washed hair and casual lounge wear, as most men are wont to do...

by Haley D on 1:27 PM. #

I seem to remember that the next morning, after Jessica has sex with Mike, she looks at herself in the mirror naked and wonders if she'll walk funny. I was like 12 when I read these and SO SCANDALIZED! Am I remembering that scene correctly?

by Anonymous on 8:07 PM. #

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by Sena Amour on 4:13 AM. #

I have almost all of the SVU books. =)

by shan harding on 7:05 PM. #

Jessica was in love with a vampire in High School and Elizabeth was in love with one in College. Then, there was that time people were murdered in Enid(Alexandra)'s dorm and at the sorority.
Mind you-it appears people moved back into both places despite the fact there were unsolved murders. Also, the college vampire almost murders one of Jessica's sorority sisters. They just clean the blood up and move back in.

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by micalk senlldy on 3:46 AM. #

There was also Jessica's affair with a professor, and I'm pretty sure Tom's dad tried to force himself on Elizabeth and it led to their breakup (along with her refusal to sleep with him) And doesn't todd's new girlfriend die of cancer or something?

by Elizabeth on 11:25 AM. #

Anyone remember a book about Jessica inadvertently having a female stalker who tried to kill her? Jessica was involved with a guy and the stalker was I believe this guy's ex girlfriend. She changed her looks drastically and started calling herself another name, I thought Tia but could be wrong. She cuts the brakes on Elizabeth's car thinking it was Jessica's. I remember something about a brown dress as well. Any help would be much appreciated

by M Tackett on 2:27 PM. #

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